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Thrice Brought Their New Vibe to the Regency Ballroom

Southern California’s Thrice is back from hiatus and hitting the road with a new album [Palms] and a new sound. We caught up with them at the Regency, and they put on a hell of a show. Here's what happened when Thrice brought their new vibe to the Regency Ballroom.

Rock quartet Thrice have always been on a steady evolutionary track. This new album takes its place as the most polished entry of the journey [Ed. Note: For the record, Vheissu is pretty fucking good, too]. If you’re just hopping on the Thrice train like I was, here's some background: they met at school in Irvine while earning their chops during the post-hardcore, fast, hard music, early 2000’s Warped Tour-esque wave. From early albums like Identity Crisis to The Artist in the Ambulance, they churned out album after album while touring extensively and building a devoted following. One rad thing to note about Thrice is that, from their first EP, they’ve donated a portion of their proceeds to a different charitable organization. Their album Vheissu was paired with SF’s Dave Eggers 826 Valencia, so it’s no wonder they had a huge and excited crowd at the Regency because, in addition to their music, these guys have given some love to our city.

In this current creative iteration, Thrice is still hard, but they also sound like a band that's played and recorded together for almost two decades. Gone is the raw energy of their early touring days in favor of a Thrice that's polished and professional. Which, for the record, doesn't at all detract from the experience of longtime fans I saw fervently singing along to both newer songs and old. It isn’t rare to see fans of this dedication at shows, but I’m always pleasantly surprised to see an audience I expected to be more masculine and bro-y throwing down with unsuppressed emotion. Long live the Thrices and Andrew WKs of the music industry!

Their sound has also moved in a slightly more electronic direction. They've dabbled in more Christian subject matter, forming something more akin to the larger, melodic ‘positive’ acts of today. Danger!Sound photographer Tracy has drifted a bit from the band with this more creative direction as I’m sure a portion of their base has because it misses their earlier raw energy. There's no better example of this than the contrast of “The Artist in the Ambulance” and “The Grey” from the new Palms album. This didn’t have any effect on the size and fervor of their crowd at the Regency, though, which proved a good portion of their base has followed them along their creative journey, and that they’ve definitely picked up new fans along the way of this evolved Thrice.

Their Regency Ballroom set was a powerful showcase of their skill as a unit. They played a large portion of their Palms album, interspersed with older favorites like the aforementioned “The Artist In the Ambulance” and “Paper Tigers.” They opened with the new song “Only Us,” and the momentum and intensity never waivered. Their light show was impressive and vivid, with an almost epileptic strobe light behind them, and fit the majesty of the Regency’s ballroom perfectly as it bounced off of the ornate ceiling and balcony trim. Bros sang and screamed along with tears in their eyes. Couples embraced. And this writer took it all in. Thrice absolutely captivated their audience. They’re a perfect example of a band that has confidently matured, shedding old creative skins with intention, retaining their rock chops while moving in a direction they themselves seem to be passionate about. This is not always easy for groups that came out of their ecosystem.

I'd like to take a moment to comment on the Regency itself, which I had never had the pleasure of attending before. I absolutely LOVED this venue. Especially the staff, right down to the security guards at the entrance. Everyone was good-natured, friendly, and helpful with any questions we had. I realize this can be hard in customer facing roles--especially as a security guard--and it blew me away. A round of applause for their staff!

Thrice’s tour was a passionate catharsis for their most dedicated fans, and a nice heavy rock experience for those of us just dipping our toes in. While I enjoyed the show, I’ll personally be replaying The Artist in the Ambulance before I put on Palms. I don’t think Thrice will mind one bit--they love what they’re making now, and that’s all that matters.